Huffpost Money

Why Amazon Pays Some Workers Up To $5,000 To Quit

Posted: Updated:
An employee pushes a cart past rows of storage aisles as he processes customer orders ahead of shipping at one of Inc.'s fulfillment centers in Rugeley, U.K., on Monday, Dec. 2, 2013. Online retailers in the U.K. are anticipating their busiest day as shoppers flush with end-of-month pay-checks seek Christmas deals on the Web. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images | Bloomberg via Getty Images

Hate your job? Then quit. In fact, we'll pay you to quit.

That's the philosophy at Amazon's warehouses, according to a new letter by company CEO Jeff Bezos. Here's a snippet from Bezos' letter written to his shareholders this month (emphasis ours):

The second program is called Pay to Quit. It was invented by the clever people at Zappos, and the Amazon fulfillment centers [warehouses] have been iterating on it. Pay to Quit is pretty simple. Once a year, we offer to pay our associates to quit. The first year the offer is made, it’s for $2,000. Then it goes up one thousand dollars a year until it reaches $5,000. The headline on the offer is “Please Don’t Take This Offer.” We hope they don’t take the offer; we want them to stay. Why do we make this offer? The goal is to encourage folks to take a moment and think about what they really want. In the long-run, an employee staying somewhere they don’t want to be isn’t healthy for the employee or the company.

The idea is based on a program employed by Zappos, a shoe and clothing retailer now owned by Amazon, which offers new hires a bonus to quit. (Apparently very few of them take it.)

But Amazon warehouses are often staffed by temporary workers who wouldn't qualify for the pay to quit program. An Amazon representative confirmed to The Huffington Post that the program is only for full-time Amazon employees.

Amazon warehouses are massive distribution centers where workers often work long shifts performing grueling physical labor while fetching customer orders.

Amazon and workers at warehouses in Nevada are currently in the midst of a lawsuit being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court . The lawsuit concerns long waits in mandatory security check points that are meant to prevent workers from stealing pricey goods. The case will determine whether Amazon and other companies have to compensate workers for the time they're forced to wait in line.

This story has been updated to include comment from Amazon.